Feather your Nest Friday, 1st April, 2022.

Here we are in April!  It was a beautiful day.  We have the loveliest days and cool nights.  

The week was a continuation of last week, putting up food.   I will tell you about today first, it was so nice.   We worked outside most of the day.   If you remember how I had to go into the chicken house and catch the small chicks every night and put them away because they couldn't navigate the ramp... well after about ten days of that I decided I was going to invest in two little coops just for broody hens and chicks.    Today they were set up.  One is pink and one is yellow.   They are so sweet.  I put my young Silkie Bantams my friend gave me into the pink cage.  This is temporary as they are small still.  (I really wanted to call these Laverne and Shirley... except one is a rooster... so no names so far.) 

 

The second coop is for my next lot of chicks.   


At the beginning of the pandemic chickens became hard to get.  Everyone had the same idea.. to get set up because supermarket shelves were unreliable.   I knew then that I needed roosters and start breeding my own.  With some trading I was soon in business!   They are not that close to the house so they don't drive me crazy as I expected.  And now we get chicks!  

With being prepared and building up the pantry I consider the garden and the hens to be an important part. No matter how much we stock up those things are going to run out sometime.  We need as many things as we can that keep on producing.   A continuous supply of eggs is protein that I know my Grandkids will always get.   We have enough hens that I collect 1 to 2 dozen eggs a day.  This is enough to keep us, plus family in eggs and give me some to trade or gift as well.    I want to do everything I can to keep this going and have younger hens coming on every year.   So this week my added the coops for chicks really improved my set up.  We are also getting ahead on feed.  We can free range chicken during the day.  I decided to do this in rotation so that some hens are locked up and some free range and take turns... just in case we ever had a fox during the day.   The dogs are on the job and seem to keep them away but in an effort to not put all my eggs in one basket I will not have them all out at once.   This keeps them laying beautiful coloured eggs and healthier, happier chooks and the feed bill wayyy down! 


It was a wonderful day!   Before I got outside I re filled the dehydrator with apple so they were doing their thing while we were out working. 

This week I used the last pear.  I was peeling pears when I came to the very last one.   When it was peeled and sliced I imagined a moment like you see on TV game shows where the winner is showered in confetti and there is a huge celebration.  That is pretty much how it felt!  The two pear trees had given us hundreds of pears! 

I delivered more puree to Chloe as Thomas eats it everyday and I froze lots more batches.


My freezer is stocked with baby food.  I have stewed fruit every morning for breakfast.

The dehydrator continued to run daily.    I traded eggs for tomatoes and they went into the dehydrator too. They were a large cherry tomato, just a lovely size. 


This whole tray of tomatoes ended up fitting into one jar.   


When I make a quiche or impossible pie I drop some of these in.  They are so good.
I had a collection of left over Capsicums.  I sliced them up and it was a surprising amount.  This gave me another jar to put away.

The pears and apples are absolutely beautiful. 


The supermarket had one good deal and that was heads of celery for $2.   I bought one and dehydrated the lot, all the leaves included.  Amazingly this jar shown below holds half.  I write on each jar the amount... as you would never guess by looking!   This will end up in chicken soup. 



The basil in my container garden is going crazy so I picked a big bunch.


I made Pesto and froze some.  


Mimi from A Tray of Bliss Blog taught me to make Pesto.  It is simply a few raw cloves of garlic,  some roasted pine nuts, cashews or blanched almonds (I use blanched almonds which I lightly roast) a glug of olive oil,  a handful or parmesan cheese and as much basil as you can stuff into your blender.   


I taste it and keep adding until I think it is delicious.  It should be like a thick dip.   With a steak, in a burger, stirred though pasta,  on a pizza, with cream and chicken...  it is so good.  And it freezes!  

Another day I put two bags of frozen veggies into the dehydrator.  They were one kilo each (2.2 pounds each.)   Frozen veggies make dehydrating so easy as they are already blanched which is good for most veggies.  



The kilo bags are quite bulky.  Once dehydrated they fit into a small jar.   So these jars contain one kilo each.   You can save a lot of freezer space and put up a lot of food on your shelf without using much space.  I wrote "1 kilo mixed veg." on each jar so I don't forget. 



I got a few questions about the apple peeler.   Here is Andy giving a demo as I didn't have enough hands to film and peel! 


The peeler/corer is the best thing I ever bought!   I use it on potatoes for spirals, they roast up so nicely!  It even did the Quinces and they are tough!   I did several hundred pears in the last couple of weeks and several hundred apples and they take less than 10 seconds each. 

I made a few cards, I hope to go on with them over the weekend.  My goal is to send special letters that are pretty enough to keep as bookmarks.  When I get something lovely in the mail from a friend I very often save it as bookmark. The best ones are in my Bible.  They are special.  I have my Great Grand Mothers Bible and she saved cards from her best friends and they are still marking certain pages.  They are just beautiful.   I know that she must have treasured these notes and cards. 


That was my week. Filling jars!   And I am glad of it.  

On Wednesday morning I had a message from a friend in the UK.   She was telling me how empty her supermarket shelves are.  It was alarming.   We had a discussion, her husband goes fishing and is good at it so they will have fish.  He can also go get a few bunnies because their friends have a farm.  We talked about trading and her neighbour who has refused to stock a pantry and now is freaking out!

I made breakfast then I had another message.  This time from a friend in Adelaide.  He had been to the supermarket, came home and messaged me.... "Annabel there was no rice, pasta, flour or sugar!!"  He actually sounded shocked.   I had two messages the same, from opposite ends of the earth,  that morning.  

I have a cautionary tale to tell.   The young man I mentioned above had a discussion with me about having more than one bank.   I told him never keep your accounts all in one bank.    A couple of weeks ago I missed a crisis in my own bank account!    It worked out ok as by the time I noticed it the problem had been fixed,  otherwise I would have had a shock.   My bank account had been completely wiped out.  Someone took out every last cent and then some.  Then bank had charged me a $37.00 overdrawn fee.    Five days later the bank paid me back the money.  Just like that.  Nothing about where the heck did my money go!!?  What?!   Finally I went into the bank, not easy as they close all the country branches...   and eventually they admitted they made a big boo boo....  and had the nerve to charge me $37 for it!   
Check your statements.  Double check everything!   It is unnerving that you can wake up and you're broke!  😭

How did you build up your garden or pantry this week?  How did you keep your home a warm and happy sanctuary from the world!?   

For those that know Laine and are praying I have permission to share more.  Laine has cancer in her bowel and she is scheduled for surgery later in the month.   She has a very restricted diet but needs to eat and gain some strength.  So this is an area to pray for, that she can eat and that it builds her up.  I will keep you posted as I am able.  She is very grateful for prayers.  

Have a good weekend! xxx

Comments

  1. Annabel,
    Your new coops are so sweet! And your moving along so well on adding to your pantry your dehydrated veggies look fantastic! I know a few people that are panicking because they haven't stocked their pantries and prices are increasing. It is hard for people to adjust their diet to what they can afford when they didn't plan ahead or keep a good amount of food in the cupboards or freezer. It is snowing this morning so winter is hanging on a bit longer. I'm eager to get the clothesline back up but I use the drying rack until then. I will need to invest in another one I think before next winter. But snow in April happens. I did get a few freebies to review a blender and an indoor smokeless grill, plus a child's tea set, the hardware for a shed and a bottle of shampoo and conditioner. Oh and a few samples of cat food. I'm always grateful for those. Rick traded a part for an older mower for some beef.
    I'm currently working on crocheted coasters. I think they will be nice as a small gift.
    Now to see what I can get myself into this next week.
    XOXO
    Vicky

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    1. Dear Vicky, Thank you!
      You got wonderful freebies! And the beef is going to be fantastic. I know beef prices are high there as they are here.
      Your crochet is beautiful. You do the prettiest things! Plus it is nice to have crochet to do while it is still snowing outside. Once Spring hits I know you will be very busy outside! Have a good weekend! With love Annabel.xxx

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  2. Dear Annabel,
    You had a very productive week. Those chicken coops are so cute.

    I, too, really like to dehydrate frozen vegetables; so easy. I still have some lemons to dehydrate or freeze today. I haven't felt well enough to get much physically done, so am working on mental tasks.

    I am finding that bulk organic dry beans are very hard to find to purchase right now. If they are available they are ridiculously expensive. Fortunately, we ordered five large sealed buckets of lentils, einkorn, rice, split peas and buckwheat. All of the sealed buckets were 40 pounds, except for the 25 pound einkorn. I have 20 pounds of sorghum grain coming today.

    When I checked, yesterday, for more legumes, the company was out of stock on almost all the organic and conventional legumes and grains. We have bought from them for years and never had a problem getting what we wanted. I keep thinking this will be everywhere very shortly.

    Everything happening is by no accident. It has been decades in the making. The Holy Spirit started warning us years ago when things "seemed" okay. All of us that have listened have been mocked over the years, but that is okay. I always think of Noah and his faithfulness. In the end, our obedience and faithfulness are what shows whom we serve.

    Good advice about the banks. Troubling times as to know where to keep money.

    Much love,
    Glenda

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    1. Dear Glenda, You have great supplies in your storage buckets. Items that will last many years. I am sorry you are not feeling too well. It is so frustrating not being well when I know you want to be doing so much.
      Thank you for your observations especially from the company you have ordered from for years... then you know what is normal for them and what is not.
      Yes, I am still amazed why in perfectly good times (for me around 2016/2017) I would feel the sudden need to stock up. It really didnt make sense to me. And here we are.
      The bank issue is a tough one. Better than the stock market. At the end of the day I feel the only safe thing is tangible/vitally useful items. But we still have to pay bills and use banking!
      I hope you are feeling better and have a lovely weekend! With love, Annabel.xxx

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  3. The coops are beautiful! I see in one picture you have a very beautiful wild bird looking on.
    A friend told me if you have online banking which most people do now, take a new screen shot each week of your accounts. If the system gets hacked it will be proof what was in your account.
    We will be praying for Laine so sad to hear this.

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    1. Dear Lynd, Even though the bank discourages it I still opt for printed bank statements. I bet it soon isn't even an option but I am keeping printed copies of all I can. Screen shots also.
      Thank you for praying for Laine. With love Annabel.xxx

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  4. Your little pink and yellow hen houses are so cute! You are so wise to keep that egg production going. This is something I would so like to do but health prevents us. We are having weather similar to yours and lots of rain to bring on Spring growth. My counter top basil is growing like crazy, too. I can harvest a lot about every two weeks.

    This week we stocked up more and more and on nonfood items as well. We have enough dish soap and detergent and bars of soap for more than a year now and have continued to pile on the food storage. Our grocery shelves are not bare but looking a little lean right now but I know they can be cleared overnight. We were able to buy 10 pounds of beautiful ground beef for 1.99 a pound this week. This was made into meatloaves and meat sauce and grilled burgers that just need a reheat. I have prayed and prayed about what to do to take care of us. Our goal this weekend is to get the freezer defrosted and that will make a little more space to add more meat. Chicken is in short supply here but whole chickens are still available for a good price so I am just going to buy whole and cut my own. Then I will take the backs and wing tips to make broth and that can be pressure canned. Just going back to the old ways.

    I am sorry to hear about Laine's cancer. My Mom is a 20 year survivor of colon cancer so I am raying for the same outcome for her.

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    1. Dear Lana,
      That is funny as I stocked up on dish soap as well! The beef you got was a wonderful price. reading your comment I just decided next week to put meatloaf on my list. It is ages since I made some and I will do a batch and freeze a couple.
      Chicken broth is really good to have. You are right... going back to old ways, extracting all the goodness, wasting nothing... this is what we need to do.
      I will tell Laine about your Mum! We hope and pray the cancer is contained and removed... that is the outcome we need to hear. It is great your Mum beat this! With love, Annabel.xxx

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  5. Those two whites are the most beautiful chickens I have ever seen. Also, I love that you bought pink and yellow hen houses. I'm always in favor of color when
    it's possible.

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    1. Thanks Anne, I thought the pink house suits my fluffy chickens! It is like I have an Easter theme with pastels and chicks! xxx

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  6. Hi Annabel and everyone,

    Those are the cutest chicken coops I have ever seen, Annabel! Our long-term plan includes moving north where it is easier to grow things (we battle the red clay soil here constantly) and where we are permitted to keep chickens. I love seeing yours! You did so well with all of that beautiful produce and the dehydrator sounds interesting.

    It has been a rather expensive, but overall to the good, week. We did a stock up shopping trip: cooking oil, tea, sugar, rice, flour, oats, chocolate chips, canned goods, hand sanitizer, cleaning supplies, butter. It looks like dairy products like butter are a little hit and miss at the moment, but I think this is more a factory problem than an actual supply problem. Poultry was in short supply and again increased in price - today the news reported our area's first confirmed case of avian flu, so I think it is likely that there will be shortages and additional price increases. I hope the farmers are lucky and don't lose their flocks.

    We also picked up raised bed materials and fertilizer to expand our garden. I had a baking day (bread, waffles, oatmeal for the freezer) and also put the crockpot to work. My husband hung a new bathroom cabinet for me and I re-arranged our large linen closet and moved smaller things to the cabinet. It is a lot better organized now and it even looks pretty! The dryer also stopped mid-cycle - was I happy to have clothes drying racks! My husband took the dryer out into the garage and fixed it, saving us a bundle. Our window that was damaged in the storm was finally replaced - insurance covered the cost - and we discovered a few termites making a snack of the window frame (the rest of the house is brick), so will need to schedule spraying very soon. I purchased some professional clothes for my work wardrobe on sale and with a 30% off coupon, saving over $200. Gas prices in my area (OK) have returned to under $4, but I will keep an eye on it.

    In the evenings, I've been doing a little knitting or stitching. I'd be interested in how other ladies who also work outside the home (or have since retired) find ways to manage it all. With a new boss and some new demands on my time, it can be a little overwhelming and I need to learn how to balance things a little better.

    I hope everyone has a great weekend!
    <3
    Kathy

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    1. Dear Kathy,
      I like your long term plan! I wholeheartedly support it! I cannot believe there are places that wont let people keep chickens ... I heard there are places people cant hang their clothes out to dry or collect rain water. These things may be life saving things in certain times.
      It is great you did a stock up shop and so good about the gardening materials.
      Good job to your husband for fixing the drier!
      Kathy you always do a lot. You achieve heaps all with working outside the home as you say. I know you must be extremely busy. I do think the slow cooker is a huge help. We can do all things but not necessarily all at once, that is how I look at it. I am home full time so I will see if others might help here. But we have to not burn ourselves out. You do a huge amount so go easier on yourself. With much love Annabel.xxx

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    2. Annabel, our homeowners' association does not permit clotheslines. Their stand is that they are "unsightly." I've had clotheslines at all of our other houses, so I've had a hard time wrapping my arms around this. I use a drying rack on my patio in nice weather--can't be seen because it is lower than my fence. I also have compost bins tucked behind my fence, but don't tell anyone, LOL.

      HOAs are a pain when you want to do something that is not permitted. I also have a problem with people ratting out their neighbors...although this does not often happen. However, I've owned 6 houses in 52 years, and I can tell you that neighborhoods with HOAs look a lot better, and hold their value much better, than non-HOA neighborhoods. I also think that when there are actual rules, there are probably fewer disagreements among neighbors. This is the first home I've owned with a homeowners' association and I'm OK with it...clotheslines notwithstanding!

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  7. Hi Annabelle, half way around the world! We are coming into spring as you head into fall. How funny ... I've been buying and dehydrating the mixed veggies too this week. So easy to do! We have shortages here and there. Sometimes no dairy, sometimes no eggs, sometimes no crackers. What do you do with your apple peels, potato peels, pear peels or even tomato peels? I dehydrate mine. I love dehydrated fruit peels to snack on. Sometimes I use a coffee grinder to powder the peels. Add them to sauces, juice, soup.

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    1. Dear Pam, Yes we are opposite seasons but still doing the same things in many ways!
      I never peel tomatoes and never intend to so they are in whatever I am making. Apple corse and peels make wonderful apple jelly which I have made but I have chickens, parrots and goats all so keen on them they are normally allowed to have them. Jes on Strangers and Pilgrims on Earth Blog has whole sections of using fruit scraps... many great recipes. Powdering them is a good idea. We can basically make our own homemade vitamins! Nothing is wasted that is my mantra. Absolutely everything is used. It is so good! With love Annabel.xxx

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    2. Please see Three Rivers Homestead on You Tube. She uses apple peels and cores to make homemade vinegar. I did this last year and it works! I need to start a new batch. Imagine making your own vinegar for home use each year. I also use cores and apples to make jelly and juice.

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  8. Dear Annabel,
    I'll have to read your post more completely later as I things that must be done while the sun shines, so I just skimmed it :-)
    I have an apple peeler just like yours and it is indeed very useful to quickly peel and slice apple and potatoes.
    Good advice about the bank. We have never kept it all in one account and I usually check my account online at least once a week.
    I'll be continuing praying for Laine. Have you heard from Laura in Romania? Blessings, Laura

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    1. Dear Laura, Yes while the sun shines we need to get our work done! Thank you for praying for Laine! With love Annabel.xxx

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    2. Annabel and Laura--I bought the same apple peeler at a thrift store for $3! However, it seems to remove a lot of apple along with the peel. Do you (or anyone else here) know of a way to adjust the thickness that is removed? Thank you!

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  9. Payers for Laine and her family. Sounds like you had a productive week. I am well stocked on about everything - and I am so glad. I do not see the problems in the stores in my area I keep hearing about - but only time will tell.
    Take care my friend.

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    1. Thank you Cheryl. I love a productive week. Being well stocked is the best buffer. Today in the news the headline story is about food prices. The title is "worth more than Gold" which is something I often say! When we have things that are now unavailable they are worth more than gold. So is knowing we are fine as we prepared ahead! xxx

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  10. Oh, wow, Annabel, those silkies are soooo cute! And I love the little coops! We are hoping to get new chicks next month, but avian flu has been going around, so we are just praying the hatcheries are able to ship out chicks by May. We've had commercial hens for ages, but this year we are going back to some heritage birds and a rooster, along with a few commercial hens. And finally, after all these years of raising chickens, we have 3 chicks on order that will lay blue eggs! (It doesn't take much to please me! Ha, ha.)

    That apple corer/peeler/slicer is divine! I have one on my wish list for this year, so am keeping my eyes open. Thanks for the demo, Andy! I had to laugh at your description of finishing the pears! I feel like that each year with canning season, too!

    This week we put together a baby gift for our priest's new grandson...one daughter knit a teddy bear, the other daughter crocheted a little hat, and I knit booties and made a card. It made a nice little gift, and all from the stash. I also finished sewing a shirt for myself...it's not lovely (it's a sweatshirt---what can I say?), but it's a practical item that I needed and came from my stash, too. Knitted another dishcloth and got some more seeds started, and some of the first ones transplanted to bigger pots. It'll be time to start tomatoes and the rest of the peppers this week coming up. Had a look around the garden, and the swiss chard has started up again under the plastic I kept over it this winter, so we'll soon be eating that. Kale under the plastic looks ready to go right now, and the parsnips are growing new tops, so I can harvest those any time. It's supposed to be much nicer next week, so hopefully I can get out and do some yard cleanup. Today was nice and warm, but rainy, so I couldn't do yard work, but it sure felt like spring! Tomorrow's a day in town--hoping to get stocked up on a few more things...it's coming along!

    I am so sorry to hear about Laine's cancer...I am praying for her and her family! Wishing you another great week, Annabel!

    xx Jen in NS

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    1. Dear Jen, I hope you get your chickens and this avian flu doesn't mess up your plans. I would LOVE hens that lay blue eggs! Oh that would be beautiful... I may have to add another coop!!
      You can still buy the apple peeler new as they still make them but recently I found one in the thrift store and I grabbed it as a spare.
      I love your family effort for the new baby! That is beautiful.
      I really want to grow parsnips. I have failed before but I will try again!
      It sounds like Spring has arrived for you, I know you will be so busy!
      Thanks for praying for Laine. She has been so thrilled to know many of us are praying and love her! With love Annabel.xxx

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  11. Dear Annabel, Thankyou for sharing such a productive, wholesome week. The broody houses are beautiful. I too have two separate pens for mummas. I cannot hatch any chickens at the moment however because these cages are taken up with our meat rabbits. We have our first kits who are nearly 4 weeks old. Some of our family are not happy with us but this is one way for us to lower our costs and part of our pantry, it is something we are experimenting with. Well any plans I had for this week flew off into the wind. Covid found our house. My niece arrived last Sunday night, straight out of a seven day isolation as household contact of her brother. Monday morning my daughter woke with a raging sore throat and tested positive. So my poor niece and her two dogs are stuck with us for seven days - ending tomorrow. My full pantry was certainly a blessing. My daughter who is 15 has been quite unwell, headaches, chesty and still hasn't regained her sense of taste and she has been sleeping a lot which is unlike her. It quickly went to her chest and she couldn't move it, I was grateful I had some bisolvon tablets as these are helping clear it up (I read about them as a tip to have on hand in the comments on a blog somewhere by someone who had been through it). So far my husband, myself and niece are still negative, we hope to stay that way so we don't have to start another seven day isolation, if we do we will miss a friend's wedding. So I was unable to get back to the Quince tree I talked about last week. We have spent a lot of the days outside on the lawn in the sun. My husband kept busy fixing up a vehicle we purchased recently. I was not very productive at all. We had friends offer to shop for us but I was able to say no thankyou as I was stocked up and I felt really happy about that. I had even done my Easter shopping so was able to provide a few treats in the week. The most important part was that I had all the medicine I needed. My husband and I are on prescription medicine and I am ahead with that . We live out of town and if I had to get someone to come get our scripts and go fill them - I would feel terrible. So thankyou for your encouragement and teachings Annabel. I am living a real life example of the importance of stocking up. You never know what hour of what day you will need it. Stay well everyone, praying for Laine, Love Clare

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    1. Dear Clare,
      I am so sorry Covid has hit your household and hope M is improving daily. I hope you dont get it!
      Many people raise meat rabbits. I heard that rabbits have been quite expensive to buy in the city butchers. Here we can get rabbits wild as they are basically running around everywhere!
      Those Quinces may well be still there! Well done on having all you needed food and medicine wise on hand! That is just awesome! Your husband is working hard and great work on the vehicle!
      Thank you for such kindness Clare. With love Annabel.xxx

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  12. I’m sorry to hear about Laine. She is the third person this week that I know of who are scheduled for cancer surgery. We must be strong for others in more ways than we realise. I pray for all those in such a scary situation, also the families of of the patient.

    Personally I have decided this year’s hobby is creating the kitchen garden I’ve always dreamed of instead of the ad hoc effort of the decades of my married life. It’s going to be beautiful, productive and give me quiet space to think and do. And of course there will be flowers as you must be able to find space for flowers.
    I am trialing dehydrating mushrooms as the fruit mart had 3kg for $15 and I got a box of nice little ones. I was given a box of nice jars for jam by my neighbor and can get into making quince jelly and jam. I’ll see if I can use my friend’s Thermomix to make a batch of paste it’s the easiest way to tackle that.
    Love to everyone,
    Kate

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    1. Dear Kate,
      I am right behind you with your kitchen garden! A good investment of time and resources I think!
      Mmmm I had not considered a thermomix in this way. Please report on this!
      Lovely jars are always welcome! Mushrooms are just fantastic dehydrated. They add flavour but also in a dish with too much liquid they soak it up like little sponges! Very handy! Also what a deal you got!
      I add flowers everywhere and they help bring in the bees too. Win win! With love Annabel.xxx

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  13. Oh my. I'm so sorry to hear that about Laine. I loved her blog from the day I discovered it and really missed her when she gave that up. I will keep her and her family in my prayers. She is special.

    Annabel, I love your pretty new coops and it's such a good plan to have a continuous crop of chickens! I'm counting on my little flock to keep growing, too. Suddenly my laying hens all decided to get broody at the same time. I'm not much of a poultry manager so I need to read up on the right way to handle these things. They are hogging all the eggs!

    I've been working steadily pruning, planting, fertilizing and now watering. We decided to let our larger fenced-in garden have a rest this year so we can do some improvements on it and have added several large containers plus two smaller in-ground plots. Greg has not been able to operate the tiller due to his back problem so I'm plugging along with my hand plow and shovel. I really don't mind that as I feel it keeps me in shape. The hand plow I ordered from Lehman's is one of my favorite garden tools. Our weather has been strange and we have been under a burn-ban at it has been hot, dry and windy and there continue to be wild fires cropping up around our state. In between garden work I'm canning and dehydrating everything I can get my hands on. I see you are making great progress in that area! I know I'm not the only one who has this feeling of urgency. I'm anxious to see everyone's input here!

    Have a safe, productive week and love to Annabel and all you lovely Bluebirds!

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    1. Dear Pam, I was the same with Laine's blog. I read one and then read them all!
      I hope you hatch lots of chickens! That will be awesome!
      Gardening is hard work and great exercise. Not to mention fresh air and sunshine! You are doing really well! You sound like me in the kitchen... it is amazing how it adds up when we use everything we can.
      Pam... I have been preparing for years now but only in the last three or so weeks have I felt an absolute sense of urgency. Several friends have told me the same, one said she didnt know what was wrong with her she feels she has to hurry and in a panic almost. Another said similar... It is not just you that is for sure. Oh and then on You tube... the channels I have followed, several of them said the same!
      I hope you have a good week and can keep on with all you are doing. With love Annabel.xxx

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  14. Debby in Kansas USA1 April 2022 at 16:07

    Those gorgeous silkies!!! My first thought for names were ZsaZsa and Eva (Gabor), but Laverne and Shirley is cute. How about Laverne and Hurley?! Your new houses are so cute and colorful. Any chicken would be proud!

    So much wonderful food prep! You might've inspired me to get a dehydrator. My freezer is crammed so full that we have a wedge stuffed under to make sure the door stays tightly shut. That mixed veggie blend is so handy. I'd love to dry a dozen bags of it.

    I was just thinking it was time to inventory my pasta and rice. I have it in food storage buckets in the basement. Empty shelves is scary. My husband stopped by Aldi today on his way home from work.. it saves gas from having to drive back to the city. He just called to say he got everything on my list! That's a relief. It wasn't a big list. But still nice.

    Spent my afternoon working on Christmas gifts while listening to Homemakers Radio. I'm making a set of 3 wooden gnomes. They're so silly! I'm gonna put a string of pearls on Mamà Gnome that fits over her beard!!! Really silly!

    I'm so sad to hear Laine is facing such a fight. My prayers for her and her family.

    Til next week!

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    1. Dear Debby, I love the names Zsa Zsa and Eva. I used to love watching Greenacres. I loved that show! I often think of it as I am doing mad things with chickens!
      I think the dehydrator has freed up a lot of freezer space for me. So for that alone it is worth it. It is amazing space wise.
      I love that you are working on Christmas gifts! Me too!
      Thank you for praying for Laine also. She really appreciates all this prayerful support. With love Annabel.xxx

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  15. Annabel all the best to Laine. May she come through the surgery and subsequent recovery with strength and love.
    Here in Christchurch we have a few shortages, although not too many as yet. One thing my DP has been unable to get is gluten free gravy. Our preferred brand is unavailable and one thing DP does not make is gravy. Everything else he is good for. We went to our local Bin Inn today and stocked up. I brought rice flour and tapioca flour to make up my gluten free flour mix with the potato flour. DP got some more date syrup, which he has on pancakes,along with gf beef stock.
    We too have been having beautiful Autumn days. The weather here is much more settled in Autumn than spring, when we tend to get cold winds.
    We said goodbye to my lovely cousin and his husband last Saturday. We had a lovely lunch at my cousins (his sister) place but it was sad to say goodbye. They left today for London where they are moving too. At this stage they don't plan on returning, even for a holiday. Hopefully they may change their mind on coming back for a holiday.
    I love, love, love your new chicken coops and your silky bantams they are just gorgeous. You must have been relieved to reach the end of processing your pears. I love your apple peeler/corer. With the amount you do that is a great tool to invest in.
    A quiet weekend here for us. We are taking my parents out for a drive this afternoon to a lovely little place called Cust. There is a fabulous emporium there to browse through and a lovely garden centre, so that will be a lovely afternoon in the sun.
    I have been wondering how your Mum is getting on with managing the farm?It would be a big job to manage I can imagine.
    Have another lovely week.

    Mandy(NZ)

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    1. Dear Mandy,
      Your weather and drive with your parents would have been so lovely! That is my kind of drive!
      Mum is doing well. She still lives at the homestead where people come and go everyday so she is kind of in the hub of activity which she likes. I went over yesterday with warm scones.
      Good that you stocked up on the flours etc. I have never heard of date syrup! That sounds so good!
      Have a really good new week! With love Annabel.xxx

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  16. Beautiful post I found the information on drying veggies and fruits very interesting and I am going to look into buying a dehydrator.
    I love your new chicken houses so cute and praying for your friend Laine I hope her op goes well for her💕🤍💕

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    1. Thank you Pink Rose! Love your name!
      A dehydrator is amazing. Once you get going it is addictive. I am so pleased to have so much in jars for future use! xxx

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  17. Very quiet week here as I have had a heavy cold,but as ever I learn something here! Firstly I never knew pesto could be frozen, I just assumed that because of the oil content it wouldn't freeze, now I know different. Secondly, I need an apple peeler! I had always assumed that they were difficult to use and expensive, now I know I was wrong on both counts.
    I hope to be on more sparkling form next week.

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    1. Dear Su, I hope you are feeling better very soon. Rest up. Ask around for an apple peeler you never know! I think my new one was around $25 but it has earned its price. Many times over! With much love Annabel.xxx

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    2. Dear Su,
      I hope you are feeling much better soon. Rest up. The apple peeler new was $25 I think but secondhand was $5. So good! It is like having a helper in the kitchen! I hope you can take it easy over the weekend! With love Annabel.xxx

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  18. Hello Annabel and dear Bluebirds friends,

    Prayers for Laine and her family - this is such a hard time, hope they will go through easilly.

    My week was productive, but that was no surprise as I plan to be very busy in order not to think of bad things happening around me. I choose to see God, love, hope, energy, good vibes, faith, home, family - otherwise the news, the war, the scare and sadness is too much.
    I finished the comisioned knitted jumper and got another order for two more, so here I am again. But extra money in is always welcome. Also finished the crocheted baby blanket with sleeping animal applique and a beautiful baby girl will be napping with it - posted the pictures on my Insta - laura_s_world.
    My husband and my son have planted last Saturday 29 raspberry bushes and pruned the vineyard, the apple trees and in the flower garden the roses and the hydrangeas. We cleaned the gardens and the yard in very nice warm weather but now the cold is back, with welcomed rain and possible some snow forecast.
    I hunt bargains and discount prices at the shops, with high prices and shortages, cook from scratch and double check my pantry, freezer and basement/cellar. So far so good. We changed our budget plans because of the actual state of the world - every month we put a certain amount to the retirement fund (as it will be very low in our country) and to medical care but now we choose to buy food and other necessities at good prices being certain that prices will go up and no bank can give you that amount of interest rate. So having things in the home is like having gold.

    It is not easy to talk with a child about financial rules, war problems, trouble in the world but I am very proud about my teenager son and the way he is coping with all these. A work in progress....

    Dear Annabel, I love your chicken and chicken coops and after reading all the bluebirds posts I have a dehydrator on my wish list. I think until the autumn bounty we should buy it.

    Love for everyone - always a joy coming here for learning new things and got encouragement.
    Thank you, dear friends. Laura_s_world from Romania

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    1. Dear Laura,
      You are doing so well. In scary circumstances you are an inspiration! I saw your beautiful blanket and I am so glad you had more orders for knitting come in too as yes there are things you can do with that extra money.
      Ask around family and friends about a dehydrator. A lot of people here seem to have one in the back of the cupboard... you never know! It is very good to put up all kinds of things with very little space.
      We had a news headline here this week "Worth more than Gold" about groceries and prices. I have always said this... and re your decisions with your finances.. there is a Bible verse that says men will throw silver into the streets as it is worthless and will not fill bellies. This is true. There are times money in the bank will not help. But a well stocked pantry will.
      It would be very difficult being a teenager at this time so your son sounds like a mature young man!
      The raspberry bushes are a great addition!! You achieved a lot!
      I think of you every day Laura and you are in my prayers. With love Annabel.xxx

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    2. Hi Laura,

      I was so happy to read your post today. Your raspberry bushes and orchard sound amazing! Keeping you and your family in my heart and thoughts.

      <3
      Kathy

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  19. Annabel your Silkies are just beautiful and I love the little chicken pens that they are in and that you have a spare for new chicks that hatch and their mothers :) . So much you have got done with processing all those pears and dehydrating lots of things for your pantry.

    We have had so much rain here that it was impossible to get out into the gardens at all so we turned our attention to deep cleaning inside the home :).

    Deep cleaning -
    - We cleaned all the outside of all the fridges, freezers, kitchen cupboards, cleaned the glass in our kitchen cabinets and I wiped over all the walls in there. Whilst we had everything off the top of the pantry cupboards we also wiped down all the air tight containers to get them clean before putting them back up and cleaned all the venetian blinds. This took quite a few days to do on and off and while I was at it I refilled all the empty containers with staples.

    In the kitchen -
    - We baked 4 loaves of wholemeal white bread in the bread making machine saving $ 13.96 over buying them locally.
    - We cooked all meals and bread from scratch.

    Grocery purchases ( when we finally got out and the floodwaters receded and the roads were open) - I bought 8 tins of long life meat and veg harvest for $3 each from IGA on a 32% off sale saving $11.20 on usual prices.
    - We bought 3 more fuel jerry cans from Bunnings and filled them up with 95 fuel coupling our 3% off RACQ Wish e-gift card and using our 4c per litre off Rewards to save $6.40 on usual prices.
    - On specials at Woolworths we purchased 2 x large Steggles family roast chickens reduced from $6kg to $4 kg and one boneless pork leg roast reduced from $11kg to $9 kg and coupled our 4% off discount with our WW e-gift card with $10 off rewards dollars to save 46.68% or $27.04 on usual prices.

    Hope everyone has a wonderful week ahead :).


    Lorna.

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    1. Dear Lorna,
      When it is that wet I think it is great you have inside work to go on with. At least the rain water tanks are full! Good job on the deep cleaning. This stuff is like a workout. I need to do the tops of my fridges... Things looks so fresh and nice when done.
      We must be thinking alike as I was in a hardware store and I saw jerry cans... I invested in another to add to ours. Then Andy took them to town and filled them all! We have seen when everyone needed them and none were available. I think they are a very important thing to have.
      You did well with the specials... I think the large chickens will make many meals. Good value for money. We also got the pork! It must have been an Australia wide special! I thought I can get a lot of meals from a roast so we went for that too!
      I dont know what the weather looks like yet but have a very good new week! With love, Annabel.xxx

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    2. Annebell - can you do a post about how to use dehydrated foods? Do you have to rehydrate before use, etc.?

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    3. Yes I will, I will try to include how to use... with the cherry tomatoes I do not rehydrate them. I just drop them into my quiche mix and bake my quiche. When cooked the tomatoes are just lovely so they rehydrate sufficiently in the mixture/cooking. xxx

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  20. Annebelle, I am so glad to get and see your articles again. For a while I could not get them and missed them dearly. Thank you for sharing all this information with us even though I am on the other side of the pond. I treasure your knowledge and caring ways. Many thanks for that.
    For Laine I am sending love and prayers ❤️

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    1. I often feel I do very little compared to you when it comes to provisions. And it's truth that I don't do as much but every little bit counts, doesn't it?
      This week I made bagels and pizza dough and bread.
      My goal each week is that we eat every bite of every meal we make. I didn't quite manage that this week. One was a casserole that is super tasty made fresh but I'd frozen it in two portions and discovered with the first that the freezing changes the texture so that it's unpleasant to eat. I fed the second casserole to the dogs. At least someone in the household was able to get good out of it!
      I doubled the sloppy joes I made earlier this week and put some into the freezer for a future meal.
      Like Lana, I found ground beef for $1.99 a pound and put up half as pre-formed burgers and portioned the other half to use later. We picked up two chuck roasts which were a bargain now at $4.99/pound as well. I am torn these days between snagging these really good buys and sticking to the food budget. I console myself that these days when we're over it's real honest to goodness food and not splurge items coming into the house!

      John addressed the issue of eating leftovers the other day and mentioned he'd like to see more sandwiches on the menu, especially for lunches. He thinks, truly he does, that he's saving me work but he also truly likes sandwiches. I've decided I'd serve less leftovers, put more prepared entree into the freezer and I will make him sandwich fillings. I seldom buy lunch/deli type meats. I splurge buy deli all beef bologna only occasionally but for the last few years I've made sandwich fillings from chicken, corned beef, roasts, eggs, and cheese. These are far less expensive per pound than deli sliced meats.

      Laine continues in my prayers.

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    2. Dear Nana,
      I am glad you have found me again. Thank you for such a kind comment! And also for praying for Laine! With love, Annabelxxx

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    3. Dear Terri,
      I agree that roast meats are miles better than deli meats. So these can actually be the left overs made into sandwiches! And they do go further in sandwiches which is a bonus.
      When the dogs end up with food it is still now a waste at least! Nothing is wasted.
      Have a very good new week! With love, Annabel.xxx

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    4. I can't vouch for this, but Wendy at My Abundant Life posted last week that the trick for freezing leftovers lies in the thawing. She said to thaw the food in the fridge and add a little bit of water when reheating. Wendy freezes all of her leftovers as single serves. TBH, I've never found that cooked food I have frozen and reheated is as good as fresh cooked, so I'm anxious to give this a try.

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